Once upon a time there was a beautiful maiden who was one of Athena’s priestesses.
Since we’re talking about Greek mythology, it will not surprise you to learn that the beautiful maiden made a Horrible Mistake and royally pissed off Athena. As previously noted, one should not go around angering the gods.
As you doubtless (without a doubt) remember, Athena is the goddess of Wisdom and War. Which means not only can she kick your butt to New Jersey and back, she’ll be smart about it.
In this particular case, Beautiful Medusa’s (that was the beautiful maiden’s name) Big Mistake was temporarily forgetting that (as a priestess of Athena) she was supposed to be celibate. She married Poseidon who immediate made sure she wasn’t celibate a moment longer.
Athena was less than amused to see one of her priestesses poo-poo her vows and turned Beautiful Medusa into Hideous Medusa. Hideous Medusa was beyond unattractive. She had snakes instead of hair; horrid, bloodshot, bulgy eyes; and her skin was ghastly green. Seventeen Magazine did not ask her to pose for their August cover.
Just to make matters worse (and by “worse” I mean more interesting for the story), Athena cursed Medusa so that anyone who looked at Hideous Medusa would turn immediately into stone.
Note: It is impossible to eat chocolate if you’re made of stone.
Hideous Medusa was greatly unhappy (duh) and wandered around Africa shedding hair-snakes which is why there are so many poisonous snakes in Africa.
Eventually Medusa was killed by Perseus, but that’s another story for another day.
Interesting, when Perseus killed Medusa, she gave birth to Chrysaor and Pegasus (the white, flying horse with beautiful wings, second only to unicorns as the animal little girls want to have. Or be.). If you’re into genealogy, Poseidon was the papa (you remember the whole lack of celibacy thing, right?).
Now you know.